Friday, December 30, 2011

Humans have the need to read

It doesn't matter if books are delivered in print or by smartphone, the main thing is to get lost in reading them

Reading books is vital for human development. Photograph: Martin Lee / Rex Features
Reading on the beachWhy should we bother reading a book? All children say this occasionally. Many of the 12 million adults in Britain with reading difficulties repeat it to themselves daily. But for the first time in the 500 years since Johannes Gutenberg democratised reading, many among our educated classes are also asking why, in a world of accelerating technology, increasing time poverty and diminishing attention spans, should they invest precious time sinking into a good book?
The beginnings of an answer lie in the same technology that has posed the question. Psychologists from Washington University used brain scans to see what happens inside our heads when we read stories. They found that "readers mentally simulate each new situation encountered in a narrative". The brain weaves these situations together with experiences from its own life to create a new mental synthesis. Reading a book leaves us with new neural pathways...   Read More...

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